Save our posties!

May 3, 2008

Australia Post is proceeding apace with a restructure ahead of its privatisation. According to Joan Doyle, it intends to close some of its Melbourne delivery centres and wants to replace its full-time workers with casual part-timers.

Doyle, who is the Victorian Communication Workers Union secretary, told Green Left Weekly that by July it wants to close the Newport, West Footscray and Sunshine delivery centres and shift these services to West Sunshine.

"Australia Post is creating a new style of postie", Doyle said, adding that, "it even has plans to introduce 'out-worker posties' who will be paid a miserly $60 for a day's work".

Under the new system, full-time shifts will be replaced by four-hour shifts by splitting the indoor sorting work from outdoor delivery. Doyle said that the shift's start time will be organised so that Australia Post can avoid paying penalty rates. This will lead to a 15% pay cut per hour.

According to Doyle, who is also a Save Our Posties Campaign spokesperson, Australia Post has already introduced this system in another Melbourne suburb, which resulted in a second-class service.

"Because of the part-time nature of the jobs, there has been a rapid turn-over of staff which leads to an increase in mis-delivered and delayed mail. Because Australia Post wants to remove penalty rates from the posties' wages, it starts the new part-time posties later in the day and this means the mail is delivered later in the day."

While full-time posties' jobs are being cut, an increasing number of unnecessary middle managers are being employed to work out the cheapest way to get the mail out, Doyle said.

Meanwhile, Australia Post recorded a $500 million before-tax profit in 2007 and Graeme John, Australia Post CEO, took home a whopping $2.6 million for the year.

The Save the Posties Campaign has initiated a petition to the minister for communications Senator Stephen Conroy and has called a rally and cavalcade for May 10 at 10am starting at the Footscray Post Office at 182 Barkly Street, Footscray. The rally will then march down to Williamstown Post Office at 70 Douglas Parade.

For more information, or to get involved, contact Joan Doyle on 9600 9100 or 0419 345 134, or Shirley Winton on 0417 456 001.

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